Tyler Hansen

Tyler Hansen

Tyler Hansen racing photo
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Tyler is a fast local rider in the SF Bay Area. He is a former downhill pro and is still races as a pro in the California Enduro Series. Tyler had a bike setup that he liked and could control. His bike cornered well and seemed balanced. We chose Tyler as a test rider based on his riding ability and familiarity with his setup. He had his shock re-valved to match his fork. Based on his testing and development of the bike, he was convinced he had a great setup but still had an open mind to try out something new. Tyler’s bike was the first attempt to use our balance algorithm to dial in a bike. The test was simple, shuttle to the top, ride down, analyze the data, make a change, keep Tyler blind on what we changed. Just ride the bike and report back on how it feels.

Tyler Hansen mountain bike racing

On Tyler’s first run, we noticed that his fork was rebounding really slow. I asked him how his hands felt and he said not good. From our data analysis, we were impressed at how balanced his fork and shock were and it was tough to tease the data apart. The only problem was that the speeds were about 50% of target. We needed to vastly increase rebound velocity. His max speed was ~1500 mm/s on fork rebound. A pro rider’s fork rebound speed should be in the 2500 – 3000 mm/s range. So we opened up his fork 3 clicks and drove back up the mountain.

Tyler Hansen racing
@bigredyeti

Second run, better results. Fork speed had increased a bit, in the 1900-2100 mm/s range. We were heading in the right direction. We decided to not touch the shock and only work on the fork. We opened up the rebound 2 more clicks. After this run Tyler had a blank stare on his face. I asked what’s up and his reaction was “I don’t know if I should buy you a beer or give you my first born, but that was amazing.” We looked at the data and were encouraged, fork velocities were peaking in the 2300 – 2500 mm/s range. Again, Tyler is a pro rider so we opened up the fork 2 more clicks. This run was his best ever down that section of trail, he was ecstatic on the feeling of his fork. Peak fork velocities were now in the 2500-2800 mm/s range. We began to look at the shock. Tyler’s shock was rebounding at 900 – 1200 mm/s velocity range. This was way too slow in our opinion for an advanced rider like Tyler. We decided to open up the shock rebound all the way. When developing a bike balance, you will see in the data the front and rear dampers put pressure on each other back and forth much like a teeter-totter. You may get the fork rebounding to your desired speed range, but increasing the shock rebound will then apply pressure to the fork and slow it down. Increasing Tyler’s shock rebound all the way ultimately increased shock velocities to 1800 mm/s. This change ended up slowing down his fork a bit, but overall the bike was in way better shape than when it started.

Motion Instruments and Tyler Hansen

I cannot compare my riding to Tyler’s but I decided to follow him down the run. I saw about 20 seconds of his run as he quickly left me in the dust. What I saw was a rider in a neutral position, hucking off large rocks into rock gardens, and railing a right to left hand corner. I watched him huck off a 10’ vertical drop and he disappeared. It was my first time on the trail, but still, I witnessed a rider with confidence. I asked him if he always rode like that and his reaction was:

“Hell no! My hands couldn’t take the abuse. My old style was to look for immovable objects that I could bank my bike off so I could turn the bike. I didn’t have corner grip so my style was to pin ball my way down the mountain banking off objects. With the way the bike rides now, it seems to ride higher in the stroke. The bike is set up perfectly into a corner so I don’t have to focus my attention to where the tires connect to objects, which lets me look forward. In rock gardens, the faster rebound is keeping my wheel planted. In fact, I feel like the bike travels straighter since the fork is in position to hit the next rock lower (closer to the open position) in the stroke travel. The bike feels great! I am bummed I haven’t been riding this bike all along…”

Motion Instrument's prototype on Tyler Hansen's mountain bike

From the analysis we did on Tyler’s bike, we concluded that we made significant progress but he needed a shock with more rebound speed. We nearly doubled his fork rebound speed. However, we ran out of clicks on shock rebound which means the shock needs a re-valve to speed things up. Since our session, Tyler’s been to Whistler and has raced a few more Enduros. When I see him at the races he’s all smiles and is thankful we helped him get the most of his bike.

Paul Serra

Paul Serra

Paul Serra and Motion Instruments user testing
Paul Serra avatar

Paul Serra is a local up and coming talent on the enduro scene. He’s won the CES series in the U18 division in 2015 and 2016. He rode for the Yeti-Fox enduro team in 2017 and currently rides for Ibis Cycles. Paul will be racing select EWS, BME, and CES races for 2019.

“As a young rider, you really don’t know how to best set up your bike; what to optimize and when, how what you’re feeling differs from how fast you’re actually riding, if you’re supposed to change your suspensions depending on the course and what to change, etc. You don’t realize that what you might consider a good setup can actually be improved by so much if you have the right data. A better set up provides you the necessary confidence, speed, and control to ascend to the top. “Good enough” is actually NOT “good enough” for the athletes like myself who are paying close attention to every single detail.”

Paul Serra racing photo

“That was my issue, I don’t like changing things. “No, I like it that way” or “that’s good” is always how I answered even though I wanted to figure out how to make my bike better. But how to do that properly, especially with suspension tuning? How do you learn from better riders, compare setups and try new things without real data to back-you up and guide your decisions on the spot without second-guessing? Affordable and easy to use Data Acquisition tools were needed and it immediately paid off the first time we tried MotionIQ.”

Paul Serra portrait
@dpetersen

“We immediately saw that my suspension (fork and shock) was packing too much and decided to increase the rebound speed. Without data and limited experience as a young pro rider, it really wasn’t that obvious. Not only did we open the rebound, we actually opened it all the way, and then had a custom tune by DVO to accommodate my weight and riding style. I was honestly skeptical at first because it really feels weird maxing out your rebound clicks on both the fork and shock, and pushing further by asking DVO for quicker settings, but the MotionIQ app proved the new rebound range led to a better bike tune.”

Motion Instruments prototype on Paul Serra's mountain bike

Another breakthrough for us was the ability quantify and visualize bike balance, how the fork and shock work together. Changing settings on your fork will impact the shock performance and vice-versa, but it’s hard to really figure out how much it impacts or what exactly changes in the behavior of the fork for example. If you don’t know, you can make the wrong guess and then waste time trying to figure out what’s actually better.

Being able to look at front/rear at the same time allowed us to fine tune the bike much faster without guessing. And I have to say, the feeling of a properly tuned bike is unreal. Sure, I would have been able to get there at some point, but it probably would’ve taken a couple years of experience racing the EWS and hanging out with riders that have spent their career figuring out all this stuff. With the data, it only took a couple test sessions.

Paul Serra racing photo

“My times on tested trails are now faster without focusing on speed, hard sections became easier and more controlled, and new, quicker lines were uncovered because I had more time to react: everything was easier to control. And with data analytics, it was easy to replicate the exact same feeling on my other race bike (I have an Ibis HD4 and a Ripmo) even though everything is different (suspension travel, bike kinematic, wheel size, damper settings, tokens).”

Since then, I have been able to play with different tunings and correlate my feeling and speed with data, allowing me to better understand how suspensions work and how to adjust depending on the terrain. I’m able to have more precise discussions with my mechanics and suspension manufacturer, which helps everyone involved: I know what I want sooner and the companies we’re working with don’t have to create endless prototypes, shooting darts in the dark.”

Paul Serra mountain bike racing

Paul has been a great asset for us. You need feedback from all types of riders. Experienced world champs like Greg Minnaar already know what they want and their feedback is heavily biased based on experience shared by an elite circle. Younger riders like Paul made us realize that our product provided more than just a more efficient way to set up a bike, it provided an education. Paul’s suspension education led to increased confidence. He wasn’t second guessing his bike setup. This was not our goal when designing the system, but we are glad that our hard work has led to this result.

CushCore

CushCore

Motion Instruments testing with CushCore
CushCore avatar

We were introduced to Adam Krefting, owner of CushCore, by Mike Ferrentino from Bike Magazine. We met Mike on a dirt bike ride a few months ago and he thought it would be good for us to take a look at Adam’s product, the CushCore Tire Suspension System. CushCore, an innovative foam insert for tubeless mountain bike tires, is a product Adam designed to reduce pinch flats, decrease rolling resistance, and provide tire sidewall support. We exchanged emails with Adam and received a pair of inserts for our bike. We ended up installing the inserts prior to the Downieville Classic XC race. This is an awesome course and has a ton of rocks, drops, along with a 15 mile rowdy descent into town. The descent has a lot of famous trails long ridden on the Downieville downhill and XC classic. We had comparison data from Downieville from prior months of testing. At the last minute we threw on our system and decided to grab data from the race.

Motion Instruments and CushCore testing

A couple of weeks after the race, we analyzed the before and after data. We threw away the data from the long climb to the top and decided to compare telemetry from the top of the baby head descent all the way to town. This is about one hour of sustained rocky downhill with a couple logging road reprieves between the third and first Divide trail sections, a great section of trail for an A/B comparison. A substantial difference could be felt on the bike before/after CC inserts, so we knew something was happening, but didn’t quite know without analyzing the data.

Mountain biking with CushCore and Motion Insturments

The results were startling. We track a lot of metrics with our system, vibration, position, velocities, etc. We slice and dice the data several different ways so you get a complete view of the ride. The first thing that grabbed our attention was the fork up and down movement decreased by 15%. This means that for the same run without the CushCore, the fork was doing more work.

Looking at Motion Instruments data and iPhone app

Photos by Austin Sandford

The second thing to note is that for the same trail, the overall vibration was reduced by 10%. When we described this to Adam, we said to think of it as taking 10% less punches in a fight. We also tracked compression and rebound strokes in different stroke range buckets. What we discovered is that in every stroke range, the number of compression strokes were reduced, in some cases by 50%! Lastly, the top compression speed we noted was also reduced by 15%.

Riding with Motion Instruments and CushCore

Besides feeling a difference, we quantified some big changes. We shared this data to Adam, he was really interested. We decided we needed to repeat the test with more riders to see if we had a repeatable hypothesis. So we repeated the test with several riders and we saw the same results across different bikes. We didn’t want to skew the results further by modifying anything related to tire pressure, suspension preload, sag, tokens, or clicker settings. Our travel time down the mountain only changed by 6 seconds for a 1 hour descent. The simple conclusion is that with CushCore, you increase your effective travel by 10 to 15%. This is significant. In essence, you will have an additional suspension margin which means you should be able to push your bike harder to to get an equivalent “max speed” feel on the bike.

Motion Instruments prototype

We are excited to work with CushCore. It was another demonstration of the enormous work we put into our hardware and software. We were able to turn this data analysis around quickly because we had already done the work building the system. All we did was click a button and compare the results from the different runs and riders. For Adam, it was the first time the benefits of his ingenious product were quantified with hard data.

We plan to do more testing with Adam. Adam also owns KreftMoto, a leading KTM suspension tuner. We will be putting their suspension modifications to the test in the coming months. Stay tuned for updates!

Greg Minnaar

Greg Minnaar

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“In almost 20 years of racing I’ve competed in 128 World Cups with 75 podiums and 21 wins. Being apart of the Syndicate gives me access to an amazing team of technicians, who work with me to tune and setup my bike to the best. At World Cup there is a lack of technology to set up your bike. Existing data systems are cumbersome, expensive, and difficult to use in in a race environment (and pretty much generally). The technology Motion Instruments has built is a total game changer! Everything I need is in the palm of my hand – simple and immediate. Maximizing the bike’s performance, regardless of climate, altitude, & terrain requires tremendous data analytics – the system from Motion Instruments delivers it all at my fingertips, and will take the sport to a whole new level!”

Greg has been a part of our company early on. We first met Greg just after we incorporated as a company and had just assembled our first prototype. We were eager to show off what we had built to Greg. He quickly burst our bubble by stating we would not have a product or a company if we couldn’t solve the “bike balance” problem. Without seeing front and rear together, you won’t have a game changing system. At the time, there was so much we didn’t know about connecting multiple sensors to a phone. Could we keep the signals in sync? Would the phone pair multiple sensors and maintain the data rate? Then there was the challenge of making a sensor that would connect to every bespoke combination of shock and bike frame.

At the time, this seemed daunting, and no doubt it made us take a step back. We did push through and went on to solve hundreds of challenges and setbacks. Even though Greg threw a big wrench in our initial plans, working with Greg has changed our company in many ways. The product we designed is a thousand times better than what we originally envisioned.

@mthomasphoto

With a comprehensive view of your bike suspension, you will quickly forget about settings. You’ll realize that with your data analysis, you can make the modifications needed to get the desired outcome, without guessing. You’ll have more confidence in your decisions because you are using hard facts, not opinions or gut feel. If you decide you need a suspension upgrade, or a tuning revalve, you can confidently state what your goals are and back this up with hard data.

Greg has helped us with a lot of testing of our products. One of the big innovations we designed was a unique way to visualize bike balance. This was the goal that Greg set out for us early on and it was not an easy road to get here. By working with the racers, we have created something unique. Folks that support Greg use advanced technology to build the perfect bike. With the feedback our system provides, Greg can quickly see where things are and can make big changes quickly to get the desired tune. The ability to correlate what he feels with quantitative data to back it up is a game changer.

Photo by Mike Thomas